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ISLAMIC LAW ADOPTED BY BRITISH LEGAL CHIEFS

Islamic law would be enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills. Under guidance produced by The Law Society, solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether. The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs. Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes. 

Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society, said the guidance would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system. Some lawyers, however, described the guidance as “astonishing”, while campaigners warned it represented a major step on the road to a “parallel legal system” for Britain’s Muslim communities. Baroness Cox, a cross-bench peer leading a Parliamentary campaign to protect women from religiously sanctioned discrimination, including from unofficial Sharia courts in Britain, said it was a “deeply disturbing” development and pledged to raise it with ministers. 

“This violates everything that we stand for,” she said. The guidance, distributed to solicitors in England and Wales, details how wills should be drafted to fit Islamic traditions while being valid under British law. It suggests deleting or amending standard legal terms and words such as “children” to ensure that those deemed “illegitimate” are denied any claim over the inheritance. It recommends that some wills include a declaration of faith in Allah to be drafted at a local mosque, and hands responsibility for drawing up some papers to Sharia courts. The guidance  suggests that Sharia principles could potentially overrule British practices in some disputes and would need to be tested in English courts.

Currently, Sharia principles are not addressed by or included in Britain’s laws. However Sharia courts have grown up in Islamic communities to deal with disputes between Muslim families. A few are officially recognised tribunals, operating under the Arbitration Act. They have powers to set contracts between parties, mainly in commercial disputes, but also to deal with issues such as domestic violence, family disputes and inheritance battles. But unofficial Sharia courts are also in operation. Parliament has been told of a significant network of more informal Sharia tribunals and “councils”, often based in mosques, dealing with religious divorces and even child custody matters in line with religious teaching.

They offer mediation rather than adjudication, although some hearings are laid out like courts with religious scholars or legal experts sitting in a manner akin to judges. It is estimated there were now around 85 Sharia bodies operating in Britain. But the new Law Society guidance represents the first time that an official legal body has recognised the legitimacy of Sharia principles. It opens the way for non-Muslim lawyers to offer Sharia will drafting services. The document sets out differences between Sharia inheritance laws and Western traditions. It explains how, in Islamic custom, inheritances are divided among a set list of heirs determined by ties of kinship rather than named individuals. 

It acknowledges the possibility of multiple marriages. “Male heirs receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class,” the guidance says. “Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. A divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir.” It advises lawyers to draft special exclusions which allow gifts to pass to the children of an heir who has died, because this is not recognised in Islamic law. Keith Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “This guidance marks a further stage in the British legal establishment’s undermining of democratically determined human rights-compliant law in favour of religious law from another era and culture. 

Mr Wood went on “British equality law is more comprehensive in scope and remedies than any elsewhere in the world. Instead of protecting it, The Law Society seems determined to sacrifice the progress made in the last 500 years.” Lady Cox said: “Everyone has freedom to make their own will and everyone has freedom to let those wills reflect their religious beliefs. But to have an organisation such as The Law Society seeming to promote or encourage a policy which is inherently gender discriminatory in a way which will have very serious implications for women and possibly for children is a matter of deep concern.”

Source: The Telegraph

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AMAZING DIVINE APPOINTMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

As writer Greg Kernaghan travelled through the Middle East he discovered authentic hospitality and passionately committed Christians. He observed and listened to the hearts of Christian workers who have invested decades in understanding and loving their Arab neighbours. Greg writes this article from the perspective of the Operation Mobilisation workers in the Middle East, their story and their dreams, in their own words. Raouf, a local Believer, was in a supermarket when he overheard a discussion between two employees. One was sharing verses from the Bible with his friend. As Raouf approached, they stopped talking and, despite his plea for them to continue, went back to their work. 

A month later, he returned to the store and heard the worker again sharing the Gospel. He asked him to tell his story: Through watching a TV programme, he requested a Bible. He read it repeatedly and gave his life to Christ. He began to share this at work. Raouf later phoned him to meet and he excitedly told how his wife had also read the Bible and became a Christian. One young fellow, Rafik, likes to go to the cinema. He’s excited yet confused by what he understands as Western culture. “Is this really how it is?” he asks. I explain how true followers of Jesus see immorality, violence, horror and spiritual struggle. I ask him what he believes about the supernatural and contrast it with what the Bible says. 

One day I placed the Bible in his hands so that he would read aloud what it said. His hands began to tremble and he asked, “Did you see that? What is happening? That never happens when I read the Qur’an.” I said, “Amazing things happen when you read God’s Word.” He held the Bible to his chest and said that it made him very curious. I hope that Jesus will soon visit him in a dream. People think it is dangerous to share their testimony with a Muslim but, done respectfully, it can open their eyes to the One whom the Qur’an says is the only sinless prophet. A friend in my group showed us the Jesus Film DVD he received at a Christian hospital. In front of everyone he announced he was going home to watch it.

Most people here think that all Westerners are like those they see in Hollywood movies: immoral and ungodly. We try to demonstrate that real followers of Jesus are different: we desire to please God, avoid shameful things and love others. A worker visited a small village where he met an old man who lived in a cave. Outside there was a tree, on which hung amazingly, the Gospel of Luke. The old man said, “This is a marvellous book about a man called Jesus. I have read this book to all the people in the village.” Surprised, the worker said, “This is only a tiny part of God’s story. Let me give you the whole story (an Arabic Bible).” The old man was overjoyed and kissed the Bible, eager to read it all to his people.

Source: Breaking Christian News

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THREE LESBIAN WOMEN ‘MARRY’ EACH OTHER IN WORLD’S FIRST ‘THROUPLE’

Three women in Massachusetts claim they are the world’s first lesbian ‘throuple,’ after exchanging wedding vows and ‘marrying’ each other last year. Brynn, Doll, and Kitten are three women who range in age from 27 to 34. Last August, they organized a wedding-style ceremony, in which they entered into a threesome “marriage” union. Even though Massachusetts recognizes same-sex “marriages,” polygamy is illegal. However, that did not deter them from entering into a three-way relationship. “In our eyes we are married,” Brynn said “We had specialist lawyers draw up paperwork so our assets are equally divided.” The three women recognized that their union is possibly unprecedented. 

“We don’t know of any other three women who are married like us,” Doll said. Doll says she has considered herself to be polygamous since high school. “I had always dated girls” she stated. “I never thought that much about it and I never really came out as poly to my friends and family. To me, it was just how I was.” Brynn describes their relationship as a “romantic committee.”  Nevertheless, she says that she and her two partners are “very traditional people” and “perfectly normal.” “Doll, Kitten, and I may not be the norm but we are perfectly normal,” she claims. “We are simply people trying to live the life that we feel is best for us and we deserve the rights afforded to others.” 

According to the 3 women, they would like to raise children by using anonymous sperm donors. They say they want 3 children—one for each of them Brynn says. Massachusetts officials say they will not punish the women for their polygamous relationship. They state non-traditional marriage and parenting structures are becoming increasingly common, with contract-based “co-parenting” on the rise. Late last year, a federal judge ruled that Utah’s polygamy ban was unconstitutional. Experts have warned of the societal consequences of non-Biblical “marriage” models. Ken Klukowski of the Centre for Religious Liberty explains that the legalisation of homosexuality opens the door to polygamy. 

“If government does not forbid homosexual conduct then neither can it morally deny those who are same sex attracted to seek recognition of their relationship as a marriage,” Klukowski wrote. “The new concept of marriage is that marriage is about personal happiness and fulfilment,” he continued. The argument goes that “People should be free to form whatever relationships they find personally satisfying and to follow whatever their personal sexual inclinations are to engage in whatever form of sexual behaviour they find gratifying.” “If, therefore the law officially recognises marriage to include same-sex couples, then it cannot morally deny more than two people “marrying”. Klukowski proposed.

Source: Daily Mail

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STILL NO RESCUE EFFORT FOR MISSING SCHOOL GIRLS IN NIGERIA

Editors comments:  This is an ongoing story with daily developments.  This newsletter is prepared a few days before transmission so information given, whilst true at time of writing, could be superseded by the time the newsletter is received by our readers. Thank you for your understanding should this occur in this instance. 

Some 4 weeks ago more than 230 girls disappeared, captured by members of a brutal terrorist group in the dead of night. Their parents are desperate and anguished, angry that their government is not doing enough. The rest of the world, until recent days, has paid little attention. The tragedy in Nigeria, where members of the ultra-radical Islamist group Boko Haram grabbed the girls, most believed to be between 16 and 18, from their dormitories in the middle of the night in mid-April and took them deep into the jungle. A few dozen of the students managed to escape and tell their story. The others have vanished.

Indeed, this is a big story. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan told some of his key security leaders and government officials recently, that “everything must be done” to find and free the kidnapped girls. Goodluck’s comments came after hundreds of people marched to the National Assembly, demanding that the government do more to bring the missing girls home. Various rumours include the girls being sold and trafficked by the terrorists, or that they’re being forced to marry Boko Haram members. A social media push has begun on Twitter, hoping to raise awareness of the girls’ plight, the campaign uses #BringBackOurGirls. 

It Is hard to imagine a more compelling, dramatic, heartbreaking story. And this is not a one-off event. This tragedy is driven by forces that will grow stronger and deadlier if the captors manage to succeed. The plight of these girls could be likened to people trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building. Their mothers and fathers try to dig them out with their bare hands, while the men who brought down the building vow to blow up others. Everyone else walks by, with barely a second glance. Please pray for the safe rescue and return of each of these precious girls who were taken.

Source: Christian Network News

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UKRAINE JEWISH COMMUNITY PLANS EMERGENCY EVACUATION FROM COUNTRY

Not long ago, one couldn’t have imagined that the lovely Ukrainian port city of Odessa, located on the Black Sea—the third largest city in Ukraine—would be reeling from violence, shaken to its very core by the threat of invading Russian troops. But it is, and of all the ethnic groups which comprise Odessa’s population, the large Jewish community there, some 30,000, are preparing for the worst. After all, before the Holocaust, less than 75-years-ago, Jews comprised 40 percent of the city’s population. Rabbi Refael Kruskal, head of the Tikva organization which runs orphanages, schools, and social services in Odessa, says the Jewish community is taking necessary precautions. 

“When there is shooting in the streets, the first plan is to take the children out of the centre of the city,” he said. “If it gets worse, then we’ll take them out of the city. We have plans to take them both out of the city and even to a different country if necessary; plans which we prefer not to talk about which we have in place.” “The next weeks are going to be very violent,” he added. The Chabad Hassidic community also has evacuation plans in place. “We are in touch with authorities and with security services, and we do a situation check every half hour,” noted Rabbi Avraham Wolf, who has a fleet of buses fuelled and ready to go, “if, God forbid we have to evacuate.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR AFGHANISTAN

Afghans went to the polls last month and voted in record numbers in a reasonably peaceful atmosphere for which we give thanks to the Lord. Thank God also that a planned attack by the Taliban against the whole international Christian community was foiled. In the attack the five suicide attackers either blew themselves up or were killed by security guards and Afghan special forces. One week ago, there was an attack on the hospital run by the Christian organization CURE in Kabul.. Three Christian doctors were killed and one of their wives was injured and is in a critical condition. The attacker was a security guard at the hospital and it is not clear yet whether he was officially from the police or a Taliban. 

We mourn for the loss of our brothers and pray for the sister who was wounded as well as for the Christian community and NGOs that are working in the country. International organizations have been warned of possible further attacks on foreign NGOs. Please pray for the relatives of those killed and our sister who was injured to be restored again. Also the Christian Foreign Community in Kabul has been hit quite badly and they need prayer, especially the staff of the CURE hospital. Continue to pray for the dissolution of the Taliban as a political and military force and for the runoff election to determine the new president of the nation. May he be the man of God’s choosing and favour for this time! 

Source: International Prayer Council

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A QUARTER OF A MILLION PEOPLE TURN OUT FOR PERU MARCH FOR LIFE

This year’s March for Life in Peru summoned 250,000 people in Lima alone, according to organizers. The turnout more than doubled that from last year and broke the record in Latin-American as the biggest pro-life demonstration ever.  Peruvians from all over the country got out to the streets to demonstrate their support for the pro-life cause. The mainstream media however barely covered the event and some outlets reporting that “hundreds” of people showed up. With 2,500 young volunteers helping with the organization, the march was a peaceful “party” to call everyone to defend life from conception until natural death.

Source: LifeSiteNews.com

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